Webber on pole for the Abu Dhabi grand prix

Mark Webber (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)  Mark Webber has taken pole position for the Abu Dhabi grand prix, equalling Jack Brabham’s record for the most pole positions achieved by an Australian driver.


His Red Bull team mate may be a four-times world champion now, but he could only manage second place as Webber pulled out a stunning lap to topple Vettel from the top spot in the dying stages of Q3.

Mark Webber (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)Both Mercedes had looked strong throughout the first two sessions of qualifying, with Hamilton topping Q1 and Rosberg topping Q2. But it seemed the Red Bulls had been hiding their true pace, and in the end the best Mercs could achieve was second row on the grid.

Hamilton spun during his final flying lap, resulting in waved yellows, so he lines up in fourth place behind his team mate Rosberg in third.

Raikkonen will start in fifth tomorrow, having put in his best qualifying result since being announced as a Ferrari driver for next year.

There were rumours rife in the paddock that the Finn may not race at all this weekend due to his non-payment by the Lotus team, which was further fuelled by the fact that he didn’t turn up for his media commitments in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

But Kimi was clearly on form this afternoon and put in a sterling effort in qualifying. His team mate Grosjean lines up seventh on the grid.

The Lotus cars are split by Hulkenberg, who put in another brilliant performance to qualify sixth. His team mate Gutierrez had gone out in Q1, making it even more impressive that Hulkenberg extracted such a great performance from his Sauber.

Felipe Massa (photo by Ferrari)It was a miserable afternoon for Alonso who missed out on Q3 for the first time this year. Although Massa made it through to the final session – and starts the race from eighth tomorrow – Alonso just couldn’t extract any more speed from his. He lines up in 11th place on the grid.

Button had a dismal qualifying too. Despite being sixth place in this morning’s free practice session, he was disappointed to miss out on a place in Q3 alongside his team mate Perez. Button starts from 13th tomorrow, while Perez is further forward in ninth.

Ricciardo was the final man in the top 10, having out qualified his team mate Vergne.

Force India failed to make in into Q3, with Di Resta just pipped at the post in the final stages of Q2. He’ll start from 12th on the grid tomorrow, with team mate Sutil in 18th.

Yet again the Williams are languishing down the bottom end of the grid, with Maldonado in 15th and Bottas behind him in 16th. The team look set to lose Maldonado and his hefty financial backing next year if his deal with Lotus goes through in the next couple of weeks.

Caterham and Marussia rounded out the back of the grid, with Jules Bianchi being awarded a five-place gird penalty for changing his gearbox, meaning he’ll start tomorrow’s race from the back.  By Sarah Ellis

Provisional qualifying results:

1. Mark Webber Red Bull

2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull

3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes

4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes

5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus

6. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber

7. Romain Grosjean Lotus

8. Felipe Massa Ferrari

9. Sergio Perez McLaren

10. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso

11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari

12. Paul Di Resta Force India

13. Jenson Button McLaren

14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso

15. Pastor Maldonado Williams

16. Valtteri Bottas Williams

17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber

18. Adrian Sutil Force India

19. Giedo Van Der Garde Caterham

20. Charles Pic Caterham

21. Max Chilton Marussia

22. Jules Bianchi Marussia

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